Editor's note: This story is taken from Ragan Communications' distance-learning portal Ragan Training. The site contains hundreds of hours of case studies, video presentations and interactive courses.
Several years ago, when Domino’s pizza relaunched its intranet, the worldwide company set up a wiki, forums and a blog to allow people at its franchises to pose questions and offer each other tips.
“Everyone in the stores started sharing all this information back and forth, getting new ideas,” says Stacie Barrett, manager of internal communications. “We also discovered there were some big holes. People didn’t understand why we were doing what we were doing up at the mother ship, which is not a good sign.”
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The realization was just one step in a process that prompted Domino’s to transform its intranet into a more powerful, interactive tool for its global team. In a new Ragan Training session, “Lessons learned: How Domino's tackled its intranet transformation,” Barrett offers a behind-the-scenes peek and a few lessons from the pizzamaker’s journey.
Here are a few tips:
1. Explain yourself.
Domino’s launched a daring marketing campaign in 2010, admitting its product had slipped (it was “like cardboard”) and boasting that the company had seen the error of its ways. It had come up with a whole new recipe.
The gamble was a success, but it requires serious communication with franchisees when you tell them you’re going to lower the price and change ingredients, so that the pizzas cost more to make. “And we’re going to tell people their old pizza sucks,” Barrett says.
“If you’re going to do that,” she says, “you’d better understand the ‘why,’ and you’d better make sure people are brought in beforehand.”
The feedback channels—such as “Ask me anything” sessions with executives—allowed company leaders to explain the decision to nervous franchisees, parry their questions and gauge whether they were buying in to the changes.
2. Make your intranet a hub.
Domino’s posts plenty of content on its site. Still, communicators and IT don’t have to do everything themselves, Barrett says.
For example, Oracle’s PeopleSoft can handle HR functions. Trying to manage IT requests? HubDesk offers a tool that the computer folks at Domino’s found useful.
What if your hyper-enthusiastic employees want to buy headsets branded with your logo? There are tools that will do just that—and your swamped IT people needn’t get bogged down in designing a store.
What about all your employees or mangers who are busting with gratitude for someone on the team? Domino’s built in an external tool called Achievers that helps you say thanks. “Peers can do it,” Barrett says. “Anyone can do it.”
3. Drive traffic with newsletters.
Domino’s weekly newsletter, “The Rush,” is inspired by TheSkimm, a newsletter that approaches serious subjects with a playful tone.
“We discovered that by changing the tone so that it matches our brand, and changing the style so that it’s fun, people do read it,” Barrett says.
A site that under previous iterations was drawing 2,500 users a week now pulls in 25,000 in that same amount of time. They stay on because it’s fun, Barrett says.
Part of the fun is enabling franchisees to post their own photos, such as the team in Norway that gathered to celebrate an award. A photo from a store in Texas was accompanied by a caption that snickered about a victory over a competitor: “That moment a large school crowd shows up to your store asking if you could accommodate their large size because another pizza place (Pizza Hut *cough*) told them no. LOL.”
“It just builds a sense of community,” Barrett says.
4 Allow your people to set their own notifications.
At Domino’s, people can set how often they want to receive notifications on topics such as training, standards, marketing, technology and charities. Anxious you’ll miss something from corporate? You can set up for instant notifications whenever an announcement is made.
On the flip side, those who are jittery about having HQ breathing down their necks with too many emails can set their announcements for once a week.
5. Make charitable giving competitive on the intranet.
Domino's has raised more than $31 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Center since 2004, the hospital reports. How do you drum up that kind of support?
Domino’s tells about the charity, which provides free care for kids with cancer. The pizzamaker also has a real-time leaderboard revealing how much money individual franchises have raised, so people can track who’s in the lead.
The intranet is all about uniting and informing people. It is, Barrett says, a way for people throughout the company to offer “their perspectives or cool things, and ask questions or just share pictures and ‘like.’ People like to ‘like.’”